• Comparing Apples and Oranges?: Next Generation Sequencing and Its Impact on Microbiome Analysis

      Clooney, Adam G; Fouhy, Fiona; Sleator, Roy D.; O'Driscoll, Aisling; Stanton, Catherine; Cotter, Paul D.; Claesson, Marcus J.; Science Foundation Ireland; European Union; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (PLOS, 05/02/2016)
      Rapid advancements in sequencing technologies along with falling costs present widespread opportunities for microbiome studies across a vast and diverse array of environments. These impressive technological developments have been accompanied by a considerable growth in the number ofmethodological variables, including sampling, storage, DNA extraction, primer pairs, sequencing technology, chemistry version, read length, insert size, and analysis pipelines, amongst others. This increase in variability threatens to compromise both the reproducibility and the comparability of studies conducted. Here we perform the first reported study comparing both amplicon and shotgun sequencing for the three leading next-generation sequencing technologies. These were applied to six human stool samples using Illumina HiSeq, MiSeq and Ion PGM shotgun sequencing, as well as amplicon sequencing across two variable 16S rRNA gene regions. Notably, we found that the factor responsible for the greatest variance inmicrobiota composition was the chosen methodology rather than the natural inter-individual variance, which is commonly one of the most significant drivers in microbiome studies. Amplicon sequencing suffered from this to a large extent, and this issue was particularly apparent when the 16S rRNA V1-V2 region amplicons were sequenced withMiSeq. Somewhat surprisingly, the choice of taxonomic binning software for shotgun sequences proved to be of crucial importance with even greater discriminatory power than sequencing technology and choice of amplicon. Optimal N50 assembly values for the HiSeq was obtained for 10million reads per sample, whereas the applied MiSeq and PGM sequencing depths proved less sufficient for shotgun sequencing of stool samples. The latter technologies, on the other hand, provide a better basis for functional gene categorisation, possibly due to their longer read lengths. Hence, in addition to highlighting methodological biases, this study demonstrates the risks associated with comparing data generated using different strategies. We also recommend that laboratories with particular interests in certain microbes should optimise their protocols to accurately detect these taxa using different techniques.
    • Comparative genomics of lactic acid bacteria reveals a niche-specific gene set

      O'Sullivan, Orla; O'Callaghan, John; Sangrador-Vegas, Amaia; McAuliffe, Olivia; Slattery, Lydia; Kaleta, Pawel; Callanan, Michael J.; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Ross, R Paul; Beresford, Tom (Biomed Central, 05/03/2009)
      Background: The recently sequenced genome of Lactobacillus helveticus DPC4571 1 revealed a dairy organism with significant homology (75% of genes are homologous) to a probiotic bacteria Lb. acidophilus NCFM 2. This led us to hypothesise that a group of genes could be determined which could define an organism's niche. Results: Taking 11 fully sequenced lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as our target, (3 dairy LAB, 5 gut LAB and 3 multi-niche LAB), we demonstrated that the presence or absence of certain genes involved in sugar metabolism, the proteolytic system, and restriction modification enzymes were pivotal in suggesting the niche of a strain. We identified 9 niche specific genes, of which 6 are dairy specific and 3 are gut specific. The dairy specific genes identified in Lactobacillus helveticus DPC4571 were lhv_1161 and lhv_1171, encoding components of the proteolytic system, lhv_1031 lhv_1152, lhv_1978 and lhv_0028 encoding restriction endonuclease genes, while bile salt hydrolase genes lba_0892 and lba_1078, and the sugar metabolism gene lba_1689 from Lb. acidophilus NCFM were identified as gut specific genes. Conclusion: Comparative analysis revealed that if an organism had homologs to the dairy specific geneset, it probably came from a dairy environment, whilst if it had homologs to gut specific genes, it was highly likely to be of intestinal origin. We propose that this "barcode" of 9 genes will be a useful initial guide to researchers in the LAB field to indicate an organism's ability to occupy a specific niche.
    • Evaluation of the Potential of Lactobacillus paracasei Adjuncts for Flavor Compounds Development and Diversification in Short-Aged Cheddar Cheese

      Stefanovic, Ewelina; Kilcawley, Kieran N; Roces, Clara; Rea, Mary C.; O'Sullivan, Maurice G.; Sheehan, Jeremiah J.; McAuliffe, Olivia; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2012040 (Frontiers, 05/07/2018)
      The non-starter microbiota of Cheddar cheese mostly comprises mesophilic lactobacilli, such as Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus plantarum. These bacteria are recognized for their potential to improve Cheddar cheese flavor when used as adjunct cultures. In this study, three strains of L. paracasei (DPC2071, DPC4206, and DPC4536) were evaluated for their contribution to the enhancement and diversification of flavor in short-aged Cheddar cheese. The strains were selected based on their previously determined genomic diversity, variability in proteolytic enzyme activities and metabolic capability in cheese model systems. The addition of adjunct cultures did not affect the gross composition or levels of lipolysis of the cheeses. The levels of free amino acids (FAA) in cheeses showed a significant increase after 28 days of ripening. However, the concentrations of individual amino acids in the cheeses did not significantly differ except for some amino acids (aspartic acid, threonine, serine, and tryptophan) at Day 14. Volatile profile analysis revealed that the main compounds that differentiated the cheeses were of lipid origin, such as long chain aldehydes, acids, ketones, and lactones. This study demonstrated that the adjunct L. paracasei strains contributed to the development and diversification of compounds related to flavor in short-aged Cheddar cheeses.
    • Polymorphisms in bovine immune genes and their associations with somatic cell count and milk production in dairy cattle

      Beecher, Christine; Daly, Mairead; Childs, Stuart; Berry, Donagh P.; Magee, David A; McCarthy, Tommie V; Giblin, Linda (Biomed Central, 05/11/2010)
      Background: Mastitis, an inflammation of the mammary gland, is a major source of economic loss on dairy farms. The aim of this study was to quantify the associations between two previously identified polymorphisms in the bovine toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and chemokine receptor 1 (CXCR1) genes and mammary health indictor traits in (a) 246 lactating dairy cow contemporaries representing five breeds from one research farm and (b) 848 Holstein-Friesian bulls that represent a large proportion of the Irish dairy germplasm. To expand the study, a further 14 polymorphisms in immune genes were included for association studies in the bull population. Results: TLR4-2021 associated (P < 0.05) with both milk protein and fat percentage in late lactation (P < 0.01) within the cow cohort. No association was observed between this polymorphism and either yield or composition of milk within the bull population. CXCR1-777 significantly associated (P < 0.05) with fat yield in the bull population and tended to associate (P < 0.1) with somatic cell score (SCS) in the cows genotyped. CD14-1908 A allele was found to associate with increased (P < 0.05) milk fat and protein yield and also tended to associate with increased (P < 0.1) milk yield. A SERPINA1 haplotype with superior genetic merit for milk protein yield and milk fat percentage (P < 0.05) was also identified. Conclusion: Of the sixteen polymorphisms in seven immune genes genotyped, just CXCR1-777 tended to associate with SCS, albeit only in the on-farm study. The lack of an association between the polymorphisms with SCS in the Holstein-Friesian data set would question the potential importance of these variants in selection for improved mastitis resistance in the Holstein-Friesian cow.
    • Efficacy of nisin A and nisin V semi-purified preparations alone and in combination with plant essential oils to control Listeria monocytogenes

      Field, Des; Daly, Karen M.; O'Connor, Paula M.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; 10/IN.1/B3027; 06/IN.1/B98 (American Society for Microbiology, 06/02/2015)
      The foodborne pathogenic bacterium Listeria is known for relatively low morbidity and high mortality rates reaching up to 25-30%. Listeria is a hardy organism and its control in foods represents a significant challenge. Many naturally occurring compounds, including the bacteriocin nisin and a number of plant essential oils, have been widely studied and are reported to be effective as antimicrobial agents against spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of semi-purified preparations (spp) containing either nisin A or an enhanced bioengineered derivative nisin V, alone and in combination with low concentrations of the essential oils thymol, carvacrol and trans-cinnamaldehyde, to control L. monocytogenes in both laboratory media and model food systems. Combinations of nisin V-containing spp (25 μg/ml) with thymol (0.02%), carvacrol (0.02%) or cinnamaldehyde (0.02%) produced a significantly longer lag phase than any of the essential oil/nisin A combinations. In addition, the log reduction in cell counts achieved by the nisin V + carvacrol or nisin V + cinnamaldehyde combinations was twice that of the equivalent nisin A + essential oil treatment. Significantly, this enhanced activity was validated in model food systems against L. monocytogenes strains of food origin. We conclude that the fermentate form of nisin V in combination with carvacrol and cinnamaldehyde offers significant advantages as a novel, natural and effective means to enhance food safety by inhibiting foodborne pathogens such as L. monocytogenes.
    • The Effects of Freezing on Faecal Microbiota as Determined Using MiSeq Sequencing and Culture-Based Investigations

      Fouhy, Fiona; Deane, Jennifer; Rea, Mary C.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Ross, R Paul; O'Callaghan, Grace; Plant, Barry J.; Stanton, Catherine; Science Foundation Ireland; European Union; et al. (PLoS, 06/03/2015)
      Background High-throughput sequencing has enabled detailed insights into complex microbial environments, including the human gut microbiota. The accuracy of the sequencing data however, is reliant upon appropriate storage of the samples prior to DNA extraction. The aim of this study was to conduct the first MiSeq sequencing investigation into the effects of faecal storage on the microbiota, compared to fresh samples. Culture-based analysis was also completed. Methods Seven faecal samples were collected from healthy adults. Samples were separated into fresh (DNA extracted immediately), snap frozen on dry ice and frozen for 7 days at -80°C prior to DNA extraction or samples frozen at -80°C for 7 days before DNA extraction. Sequencing was completed on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Culturing of total aerobes, anaerobes and bifidobacteria was also completed. Results No significant differences at phylum or family levels between the treatment groups occurred. At genus level only Faecalibacterium and Leuconostoc were significantly different in the fresh samples compared to the snap frozen group (p = 0.0298; p = 0.0330 respectively). Diversity analysis indicated that samples clustered based on the individual donor, rather than by storage group. No significant differences occurred in the culture-based analysis between the fresh, snap or -80°C frozen samples. Conclusions Using the MiSeq platform coupled with culture-based analysis, this study highlighted that limited significant changes in microbiota occur following rapid freezing of faecal samples prior to DNA extraction. Thus, rapid freezing of samples prior to DNA extraction and culturing, preserves the integrity of the microbiota.
    • Whole-Genome Shotgun Sequence of Salmonella bongori, First Isolated in Northwestern Italy

      Romano, Angelo; Bellio, Alberto; Macori, Guerrino; Cotter, Paul D.; Manila Bianchi, Daniela; Gallina, Silvia; Decastelli, Lucia (American Society for Microbiology, 06/07/2017)
      This study describes the whole-genome shotgun sequence of Salmonella bongori 48:z35:–, originally isolated from a 1-year-old symptomatic patient in northwest Italy, a typically nonendemic area. The draft genome sequence contained 4.56 Mbp and the G+C content was 51.27%.
    • In Silico Assigned Resistance Genes Confer Bifidobacterium with Partial Resistance to Aminoglycosides but Not to Β-Lactams

      Fouhy, Fiona; O'Connell-Motherway, Mary; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Ross, R Paul; Stanton, Catherine; van Sinderen, Douwe; Cotter, Paul D.; Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board; et al. (PLoS, 06/12/2013)
      Bifidobacteria have received significant attention due to their contribution to human gut health and the use of specific strains as probiotics. It is thus not surprising that there has also been significant interest with respect to their antibiotic resistance profile. Numerous culture-based studies have demonstrated that bifidobacteria are resistant to the majority of aminoglycosides, but are sensitive to β-lactams. However, limited research exists with respect to the genetic basis for the resistance of bifidobacteria to aminoglycosides. Here we performed an in-depth in silico analysis of putative Bifidobacterium-encoded aminoglycoside resistance proteins and β-lactamases and assess the contribution of these proteins to antibiotic resistance. The in silico-based screen detected putative aminoglycoside and β-lactam resistance proteins across the Bifidobacterium genus. Laboratory-based investigations of a number of representative bifidobacteria strains confirmed that despite containing putative β-lactamases, these strains were sensitive to β-lactams. In contrast, all strains were resistant to the aminoglycosides tested. To assess the contribution of genes encoding putative aminoglycoside resistance proteins in Bifidobacterium sp. two genes, namely Bbr_0651 and Bbr_1586, were targeted for insertional inactivation in B. breve UCC2003. As compared to the wild-type, the UCC2003 insertion mutant strains exhibited decreased resistance to gentamycin, kanamycin and streptomycin. This study highlights the associated risks of relying on the in silico assignment of gene function. Although several putative β-lactam resistance proteins are located in bifidobacteria, their presence does not coincide with resistance to these antibiotics. In contrast however, this approach has resulted in the identification of two loci that contribute to the aminoglycoside resistance of B. breve UCC2003 and, potentially, many other bifidobacteria.
    • Targeting the Microbiota to Address Diet-Induced Obesity: A Time Dependent Challenge

      Clarke, Siobhan F.; Murphy, Eileen F.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Ross, R Paul; O'Toole, Paul W.; Shanahan, Fergus; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; Alimentary Health Ltd (PLOS, 07/06/2013)
      Links between the gut microbiota and host metabolism have provided new perspectives on obesity. We previously showed that the link between the microbiota and fat deposition is age- and time-dependent subject to microbial adaptation to diet over time. We also demonstrated reduced weight gain in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice through manipulation of the gut microbiota with vancomycin or with the bacteriocin-producing probiotic Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118 (Bac+), with metabolic improvement achieved in DIO mice in receipt of vancomycin. However, two phases of weight gain were observed with effects most marked early in the intervention phase. Here, we compare the gut microbial populations at the early relative to the late stages of intervention using a high throughput sequencing-based analysis to understand the temporal relationship between the gut microbiota and obesity. This reveals several differences in microbiota composition over the intervening period. Vancomycin dramatically altered the gut microbiota composition, relative to controls, at the early stages of intervention after which time some recovery was evident. It was also revealed that Bac+ treatment initially resulted in the presence of significantly higher proportions of Peptococcaceae and significantly lower proportions of Rikenellaceae and Porphyromonadaceae relative to the gut microbiota of L. salivarius UCC118 bacteriocin negative (Bac-) administered controls. These differences were no longer evident at the later time. The results highlight the resilience of the gut microbiota and suggest that interventions may need to be monitored and continually adjusted to ensure sustained modification of the gut microbiota.
    • High conjugated linoleic acid enriched ghee (clarified butter) increases the antioxidant and antiatherogenic potency in female Wistar rats

      Chinnadurai, Kathirvelan; Kanwal, Harpreet K; Tyagi, Amrish K; Stanton, Catherine; Ross, R Paul; Department of Biotechnology/Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (Biomed Central, 07/08/2013)
      Background Hypercholesterolemia and oxidative stress are the main stimulating factors responsible for coronary artery disease and progression of atherosclerosis. Dairy food products are rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is considered as an important component due to its potential health benefits such as anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic, antidiabetic and antiadipogenic properties. In the present study, the effect of CLA enriched ghee on the antioxidant enzyme system and antiatherogenic properties in Wistar rats has been studied. Methods Female Wistar rats of 21 days were taken for the study and fed with soybean diet (Control diet), low CLA diet and high CLA ghee diet (treatments) for thirty five days for studying antioxidative enzymes and sixteen weeks in case of antiatherogenic studies. Results Feeding of high CLA enhanced ghee during pubescent period in rats lead to an increase in catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme activities in blood and increased CAT, SOD and glutathione transferase (GST) enzymes activities in liver by 27, 130 and 168 percent, respectively. Plasma nitrate concentration and Haemoglobin levels remained the same in all the treatments. Feeding of high CLA ghee resulted in lower (P < 0.01) plasma cholesterol & triglyceride level (52.17 and 30.27%), and higher high density lipoproteins (33.26%) than feeding of soybean oil (control group) and thus manifested in decreased (P < 0.05) atherogenic index (from 0.472 to 0.244). Lesser cholesterol and triglyceride levels were observed in the liver and aorta of high CLA fed rats than in those of the other groups. Histopathological studies of liver showed normal hepatic cords with portal triad in the high CLA ghee fed rats whereas fatty degeneration of hepatocytes containing fat vacuoles was observed in the liver of the other groups. Conclusion This paper is the first report of the antioxidant and antiatherogenic properties of the high CLA enriched ghee suggesting that high CLA ghee can be used as a potential food for decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, particularly in India, where, ghee is widely used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
    • High conjugated linoleic acid enriched ghee (clarified butter) increases the antioxidant and antiatherogenic potency in female Wistar rats

      Chinnadurai, Kathirvelan; Kanwal, Harpreet K; Tyagi, Amrish K; Stanton, Catherine; Ross, R Paul; Department of Biotechnology/Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (Biomed Central, 07/08/2013)
      Background: Hypercholesterolemia and oxidative stress are the main stimulating factors responsible for coronary artery disease and progression of atherosclerosis. Dairy food products are rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is considered as an important component due to its potential health benefits such as anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic, antidiabetic and antiadipogenic properties. In the present study, the effect of CLA enriched ghee on the antioxidant enzyme system and antiatherogenic properties in Wistar rats has been studied. Methods: Female Wistar rats of 21 days were taken for the study and fed with soybean diet (Control diet), low CLA diet and high CLA ghee diet (treatments) for thirty five days for studying antioxidative enzymes and sixteen weeks in case of antiatherogenic studies. Results: Feeding of high CLA enhanced ghee during pubescent period in rats lead to an increase in catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme activities in blood and increased CAT, SOD and glutathione transferase (GST) enzymes activities in liver by 27, 130 and 168 percent, respectively. Plasma nitrate concentration and Haemoglobin levels remained the same in all the treatments. Feeding of high CLA ghee resulted in lower (P < 0.01) plasma cholesterol & triglyceride level (52.17 and 30.27%), and higher high density lipoproteins (33.26%) than feeding of soybean oil (control group) and thus manifested in decreased (P < 0.05) atherogenic index (from 0.472 to 0.244). Lesser cholesterol and triglyceride levels were observed in the liver and aorta of high CLA fed rats than in those of the other groups. Histopathological studies of liver showed normal hepatic cords with portal triad in the high CLA ghee fed rats whereas fatty degeneration of hepatocytes containing fat vacuoles was observed in the liver of the other groups. Conclusion: This paper is the first report of the antioxidant and antiatherogenic properties of the high CLA enriched ghee suggesting that high CLA ghee can be used as a potential food for decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, particularly in India, where, ghee is widely used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
    • Production of multiple bacteriocins from a single locus by gastrointestinal strains of Lactobacillus salivarius

      O'Shea, Eileen F.; O'Connor, Paula M.; Raftis, Emma J.; O'Toole, Paul W.; Stanton, Catherine; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 07/10/2011)
      Bacteriocins produced by Lactobacillus salivarius isolates derived from gastrointestinal origin have previously demonstrated efficacy for in vivo protection against Listeria monocytogenes infection. In this study, comparative genomic analysis was employed to investigate the intraspecies diversity of seven L. salivarius isolates of human and porcine intestinal origin, based on the genome of the well characterised bacteriocin-producing strain L. salivarius UCC118. This revealed a highly conserved megaplasmid-encoded gene cluster in these strains involved in the regulation and secretion of two-component class IIb bacteriocins. However, considerable intraspecific variation was observed in the structural genes encoding the bacteriocin peptides. These ranged from close relatives of abp118 such as salivaricin P, which differs by 2 amino acids, to completely novel bacteriocins such as salivaricin T, which is characterized in this study. Salivaricin T inhibits closely related lactobacilli and bears little homology to previously characterized salivaricins. Interestingly, the two peptides responsible for salivaricin T activity, SalTα and SalTβ, share considerable identity with the component peptides of thermophilin 13, a bacteriocin produced by Streptococcus thermophilus. Furthermore, the salivaricin locus of strain DPC6488 also encodes an additional novel one-component class IId anti-listerial bacteriocin, salivaricin L. These findings suggest a high level of redundancy in the bacteriocins that can be produced by intestinal L. salivarius isolates using the same enzymatic production and export machinery. Such diversity may contribute to their ability to dominate and compete within the complex microbiota of the mammalian gut.
    • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

      Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O'Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. Anthony; Ross, R Paul; van Sinderen, Douwe; Stanton, Catherine; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Biomed Central, 08/01/2018)
      Background Bifidobacterium longum is a common member of the human gut microbiota and is frequently present at high numbers in the gut microbiota of humans throughout life, thus indicative of a close symbiotic host-microbe relationship. Different mechanisms may be responsible for the high competitiveness of this taxon in its human host to allow stable establishment in the complex and dynamic intestinal microbiota environment. The objective of this study was to assess the genetic and metabolic diversity in a set of 20 B. longum strains, most of which had previously been isolated from infants, by performing whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis, and to analyse their carbohydrate utilization abilities using a gene-trait matching approach. Results We analysed their pan-genome and their phylogenetic relatedness. All strains clustered in the B. longum ssp. longum phylogenetic subgroup, except for one individual strain which was found to cluster in the B. longum ssp. suis phylogenetic group. The examined strains exhibit genomic diversity, while they also varied in their sugar utilization profiles. This allowed us to perform a gene-trait matching exercise enabling the identification of five gene clusters involved in the utilization of xylo-oligosaccharides, arabinan, arabinoxylan, galactan and fucosyllactose, the latter of which is an abundant human milk oligosaccharide (HMO). Conclusions The results showed high diversity in terms of genes and predicted glycosyl-hydrolases, as well as the ability to metabolize a large range of sugars. Moreover, we corroborate the capability of B. longum ssp. longum to metabolise HMOs. Ultimately, their intraspecific genomic diversity and the ability to consume a wide assortment of carbohydrates, ranging from plant-derived carbohydrates to HMOs, may provide an explanation for the competitive advantage and persistence of B. longum in the human gut microbiome.
    • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

      Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O'Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. Anthony; Ross, R Paul; van Sinderen, Douwe; Stanton, Catherine; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Biomed Central, 08/01/2018)
      Background Bifidobacterium longum is a common member of the human gut microbiota and is frequently present at high numbers in the gut microbiota of humans throughout life, thus indicative of a close symbiotic host-microbe relationship. Different mechanisms may be responsible for the high competitiveness of this taxon in its human host to allow stable establishment in the complex and dynamic intestinal microbiota environment. The objective of this study was to assess the genetic and metabolic diversity in a set of 20 B. longum strains, most of which had previously been isolated from infants, by performing whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis, and to analyse their carbohydrate utilization abilities using a gene-trait matching approach. Results We analysed their pan-genome and their phylogenetic relatedness. All strains clustered in the B. longum ssp. longum phylogenetic subgroup, except for one individual strain which was found to cluster in the B. longum ssp. suis phylogenetic group. The examined strains exhibit genomic diversity, while they also varied in their sugar utilization profiles. This allowed us to perform a gene-trait matching exercise enabling the identification of five gene clusters involved in the utilization of xylo-oligosaccharides, arabinan, arabinoxylan, galactan and fucosyllactose, the latter of which is an abundant human milk oligosaccharide (HMO). Conclusions The results showed high diversity in terms of genes and predicted glycosyl-hydrolases, as well as the ability to metabolize a large range of sugars. Moreover, we corroborate the capability of B. longum ssp. longum to metabolise HMOs. Ultimately, their intraspecific genomic diversity and the ability to consume a wide assortment of carbohydrates, ranging from plant-derived carbohydrates to HMOs, may provide an explanation for the competitive advantage and persistence of B. longum in the human gut microbiome.
    • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

      Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O'Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. Anthony; Ross, R Paul; van Sinderen, Douwe; Stanton, Catherine; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Biomed Central, 08/01/2018)
      Background Bifidobacterium longum is a common member of the human gut microbiota and is frequently present at high numbers in the gut microbiota of humans throughout life, thus indicative of a close symbiotic host-microbe relationship. Different mechanisms may be responsible for the high competitiveness of this taxon in its human host to allow stable establishment in the complex and dynamic intestinal microbiota environment. The objective of this study was to assess the genetic and metabolic diversity in a set of 20 B. longum strains, most of which had previously been isolated from infants, by performing whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis, and to analyse their carbohydrate utilization abilities using a gene-trait matching approach. Results We analysed their pan-genome and their phylogenetic relatedness. All strains clustered in the B. longum ssp. longum phylogenetic subgroup, except for one individual strain which was found to cluster in the B. longum ssp. suis phylogenetic group. The examined strains exhibit genomic diversity, while they also varied in their sugar utilization profiles. This allowed us to perform a gene-trait matching exercise enabling the identification of five gene clusters involved in the utilization of xylo-oligosaccharides, arabinan, arabinoxylan, galactan and fucosyllactose, the latter of which is an abundant human milk oligosaccharide (HMO). Conclusions The results showed high diversity in terms of genes and predicted glycosyl-hydrolases, as well as the ability to metabolize a large range of sugars. Moreover, we corroborate the capability of B. longum ssp. longum to metabolise HMOs. Ultimately, their intraspecific genomic diversity and the ability to consume a wide assortment of carbohydrates, ranging from plant-derived carbohydrates to HMOs, may provide an explanation for the competitive advantage and persistence of B. longum in the human gut microbiome.
    • Atypical Listeria innocua strains possess an intact LIPI-3

      Clayton, Evelyn M; Daly, Karen M.; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R Paul; Enterprise Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; 06/IN.1/B98; 10/IN.1/B3027 (Biomed Central, 08/03/2014)
      Background: Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen which is the causative agent of listeriosis and can be divided into three evolutionary lineages I, II and III. While all strains possess the well established virulence factors associated with the Listeria pathogenicity island I (LIPI-1), lineage I strains also possess an additional pathogenicity island designated LIPI-3 which encodes listeriolysin S (LLS), a post-translationally modified cytolytic peptide. Up until now, this pathogenicity island has been identified exclusively in a subset of lineage I isolates of the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Results: In total 64 L. innocua strains were screened for the presence of LIPI-3. Here we report the identification of an intact LIPI-3 in 11 isolates of L. innocua and the remnants of the cluster in several others. Significantly, we can reveal that placing the L. innocua lls genes under the control of a constitutive promoter results in a haemolytic phenotype, confirming that the cluster is capable of encoding a functional haemolysin. Conclusions: Although the presence of the LIPI-3 gene cluster is confined to lineage I isolates of L. monocytogenes, a corresponding gene cluster or its remnants have been identified in many L. innocua strains.
    • Offspring subcutaneous adipose markers are sensitive to the timing of maternal gestational weight gain

      Giblin, Linda; Darimont, Christian; Leone, Patricia; McNamara, Louise B.; Blancher, Florence; Berry, Donagh P.; Castaneda-Gutierrez, Euridice; Lawlor, Peadar G; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 08/03/2015)
      Background Excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy impacts on offspring health. This study focused on the timing of maternal gestational weight gain, using a porcine model with mothers of normal pre-pregnancy weight. Methods Trial design ensured the trajectory of maternal gestational weight gain differed across treatments in early, mid and late gestation. Diet composition did not differ. On day 25 gestation, sows were assigned to one of five treatments: Control sows received a standard gestation diet of 2.3 kg/day (30 MJ DE/day) from early to late gestation (day 25–110 gestation). E sows received 4.6 kg food/day in early gestation (day 25–50 gestation). M sows doubled their food intake in mid gestation (day 50–80 gestation). EM sows doubled their food intake during both early and mid gestation (day 25–80 gestation). L sows consumed 3.5 kg food/day in late gestation (day 80–110 gestation). Offspring body weight and food intake levels were measured from birth to adolescence. Markers of lipid metabolism, hypertrophy and inflammation were investigated in subcutaneous adipose tissue of adolescent offspring. Results The trajectory of gestational weight gain differed across treatments. However total gestational weight gain did not differ except for EM sows who were the heaviest and fattest mothers at parturition. Offspring birth weight did not differ across treatments. Subcutaneous adipose tissue from EM offspring differed significantly from controls, with elevated mRNA levels of lipogenic (CD36, ACACB and LPL), nutrient transporters (FABP4 and GLUT4), lipolysis (HSL and ATGL), adipocyte size (MEST) and inflammation (PAI-1) indicators. The subcutaneous adipose depot from L offspring exhibited elevated levels of CD36, ACACB, LPL, GLUT4 and FABP4 mRNA transcripts compared to control offspring. Conclusions Increasing gestational weight gain in early gestation had the greatest impact on offspring postnatal growth rate. Increasing maternal food allowance in late gestation appeared to shift the offspring adipocyte focus towards accumulation of fat. Mothers who gained the most weight during gestation (EM mothers) gave birth to offspring whose subcutaneous adipose tissue, at adolescence, appeared hyperactive compared to controls. This study concluded that mothers, who gained more than the recommended weight gain in mid and late gestation, put their offspring adipose tissue at risk of dysfunction.
    • Offspring subcutaneous adipose markers are sensitive to the timing of maternal gestational weight gain

      Giblin, Linda; Darimont, Christian; Leone, Patricia; McNamara, Louise B.; Blancher, Florence; Berry, Donagh P.; Castaneda-Gutierrez, Euridice; Lawlor, Peadar G; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 08/03/2015)
      Background Excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy impacts on offspring health. This study focused on the timing of maternal gestational weight gain, using a porcine model with mothers of normal pre-pregnancy weight. Methods Trial design ensured the trajectory of maternal gestational weight gain differed across treatments in early, mid and late gestation. Diet composition did not differ. On day 25 gestation, sows were assigned to one of five treatments: Control sows received a standard gestation diet of 2.3 kg/day (30 MJ DE/day) from early to late gestation (day 25–110 gestation). E sows received 4.6 kg food/day in early gestation (day 25–50 gestation). M sows doubled their food intake in mid gestation (day 50–80 gestation). EM sows doubled their food intake during both early and mid gestation (day 25–80 gestation). L sows consumed 3.5 kg food/day in late gestation (day 80–110 gestation). Offspring body weight and food intake levels were measured from birth to adolescence. Markers of lipid metabolism, hypertrophy and inflammation were investigated in subcutaneous adipose tissue of adolescent offspring. Results The trajectory of gestational weight gain differed across treatments. However total gestational weight gain did not differ except for EM sows who were the heaviest and fattest mothers at parturition. Offspring birth weight did not differ across treatments. Subcutaneous adipose tissue from EM offspring differed significantly from controls, with elevated mRNA levels of lipogenic (CD36, ACACB and LPL), nutrient transporters (FABP4 and GLUT4), lipolysis (HSL and ATGL), adipocyte size (MEST) and inflammation (PAI-1) indicators. The subcutaneous adipose depot from L offspring exhibited elevated levels of CD36, ACACB, LPL, GLUT4 and FABP4 mRNA transcripts compared to control offspring. Conclusions Increasing gestational weight gain in early gestation had the greatest impact on offspring postnatal growth rate. Increasing maternal food allowance in late gestation appeared to shift the offspring adipocyte focus towards accumulation of fat. Mothers who gained the most weight during gestation (EM mothers) gave birth to offspring whose subcutaneous adipose tissue, at adolescence, appeared hyperactive compared to controls. This study concluded that mothers, who gained more than the recommended weight gain in mid and late gestation, put their offspring adipose tissue at risk of dysfunction.
    • Bacteriocins: Novel Solutions to Age Old Spore-Related Problems?

      Egan, Kevin; Field, Des; Rea, Mary C.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; DAFM 13/F/462; TIDA 14/TIDA/2286; et al. (Frontiers Media S. A., 08/04/2016)
      Bacteriocins are ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptides produced by bacteria, which have the ability to kill or inhibit other bacteria. Many bacteriocins are produced by food grade lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Indeed, the prototypic bacteriocin, nisin, is produced by Lactococcus lactis, and is licensed in over 50 countries. With consumers becoming more concerned about the levels of chemical preservatives present in food, bacteriocins offer an alternative, more natural approach, while ensuring both food safety and product shelf life. Bacteriocins also show additive/synergistic effects when used in combination with other treatments, such as heating, high pressure, organic compounds, and as part of food packaging. These features are particularly attractive from the perspective of controlling sporeforming bacteria. Bacterial spores are common contaminants of food products, and their outgrowth may cause food spoilage or food-borne illness. They are of particular concern to the food industry due to their thermal and chemical resistance in their dormant state. However, when spores germinate they lose the majority of their resistance traits, making them susceptible to a variety of food processing treatments. Bacteriocins represent one potential treatment as they may inhibit spores in the post-germination/outgrowth phase of the spore cycle. Spore eradication and control in food is critical, as they are able to spoil and in certain cases compromise the safety of food by producing dangerous toxins. Thus, understanding the mechanisms by which bacteriocins exert their sporostatic/sporicidal activity against bacterial spores will ultimately facilitate their optimal use in food. This review will focus on the use of bacteriocins alone, or in combination with other innovative processing methods to control spores in food, the current knowledge and gaps therein with regard to bacteriocin-spore interactions and discuss future research approaches to enable spores to be more effectively targeted by bacteriocins in food settings.
    • Novel High-Molecular Weight Fucosylated Milk Oligosaccharides Identified in Dairy Streams

      Mehra, Raj; Barile, Daniela; Marotta, Mariarosaria; Lebrilla, Carlitto B.; Chu, Caroline; German, J.Bruce; University of California Discovery Program; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; National Institutes of Health; California Dairy Research Foundation; et al. (PLOS, 08/05/2014)
      Oligosaccharides are the third largest component in human milk. This abundance is remarkable because oligosaccharides are not digestible by the newborn, and yet they have been conserved and amplified during evolution. In addition to encouraging the growth of a protective microbiota dominated by bifidobacteria, oligosaccharides have anti-infective activity, preventing pathogens from binding to intestinal cells. Although it would be advantageous adding these valuable molecules to infant milk formula, the technologies to reproduce the variety and complexity of human milk oligosaccharides by enzymatic/organic synthesis are not yet mature. Consequently, there is an enormous interest in alternative sources of these valuable oligosaccharides. Recent research has demonstrated that bovine milk and whey permeate also contain oligosaccharides. Thus, a thorough characterization of oligosaccharides in bovine dairy streams is an important step towards fully assessing their specific functionalities. In this study, bovine milk oligosaccharides (BMOs) were concentrated by membrane filtration from a readily available dairy stream called “mother liquor”, and analyzed by high accuracy MALDI FT-ICR mass spectrometry. The combination of HPLC and accurate mass spectrometry allowed the identification of ideal processing conditions leading to the production of Kg amount of BMO enriched powders. Among the BMOs identified, 18 have high-molecular weight and corresponded in size to the most abundant oligosaccharides present in human milk. Notably 6 oligosaccharides contained fucose, a sugar monomer that is highly abundant in human milk, but is rarely observed in bovine milk. This work shows that dairy streams represent a potential source of complex milk oligosaccharides for commercial development of unique dairy ingredients in functional foods that reproduce the benefits of human milk.